April 26, 2022
SEOUL – North Korea and Russia have developed their ties and sent the strongest ever support to each other on the international stage, as their reinforced relations have contributed to ensuring peace and security in Northeast Asia, the North Korean state newspaper said Monday in a special article.
The Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, published the special article to mark the three-year anniversary of the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 25, 2019.
“The friendly relations between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Russia, which have been continuously strengthened and developed by its predecessors, are entering a new heyday with the special interest of the dear respected comrade general secretary (Kim Jong-un),” the newspaper said in a Korean-language article. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.
The Rodong Sinmun also underlined that the bilateral friendship has continued to move forward toward development while “steadfastly overcoming hardship throughout history.”
“The DPRK-Russia friendship was forged in blood on the battlefield against the imperialists’ act of invading and maneuvering a war, and it has been reinforced and developed in the struggle to protect peace and security.”
The newspaper also notably highlighted strengthened coordination between Russia and North Korea in every field including global issues, elucidating that both countries seek to “develop friendly, reciprocal and cooperative relationships on the principle of respect for sovereignty and equality.”
“The two countries have fulfilled great achievements in every field of bilateral relations through close contact and reciprocal cooperation, while boldly overcoming all kinds of challenges, ordeals and sabotage following the agreements made at the summit,” the newspaper said. “The mutual support on the international stage has become stronger than ever.”
N. Korea endorses Russia’s invasion
The Rodong Sinmun conspicuously endorsed Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine without directly referring to it.
“We are sending our full support and showing solidarity to the justified struggle of the Russian people to protect the autonomy and security of the country and to defend national interests,” the newspaper said.
Russia, the newspaper said, has directed its efforts toward reinforcing overall national power, maintaining economic independence and stability and developing and expanding external relations amid “unprecedentedly intensified sanctions and pressure by hostile forces.”
The newspaper expressed its wish for Russians to “surmount all challenges and difficulties encountered under the right guidance of President Putin and to achieve results in their work to build a strong and developed Russia.”
Against that backdrop, the Rodong Sinmun emphasized the significance of the North Korea-Russia relationship in maintaining the balance of power in international relations, pledging to further expand bilateral ties.
“The strengthening of friendship between the two countries has contributed to ensuring peace and security in Northeast Asia and in the world, and to establishing an international order based on independence and justice,” the newspaper said.
The North Korean government will stand by its stance to strengthen and develop the friendly and cooperative relationship with Russia in “full measure” in accordance with the agreement at the DPRK-Russia summit, the newspaper added.
Strategic communication, tactical cooperation
North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said North Korea-Russia relations have been developed against the “challenges and pressure by the US and its followers” in a separate statement released Sunday to mark the third anniversary of the Kim-Putin summit.
The ministry assessed that Moscow and Pyongyang have “strengthened strategic communication despite nontrivial difficulties and challenges caused by the unpredictable global crisis in recent years” in a Korean-language article uploaded on its official website.
North Korea and Russia have also “broadened high-level contact and collaboration in various fields, including politics, economy and culture as well as develop closer tactical cooperation on the international stage.”
Kim and Putin previously discussed ways to facilitate and develop “strategic communication and tactical cooperation in the path toward ensuring peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region” during their summit in 2019, the statement said.
North Korea’s recent statements are notable given that North Korea and Russia have explicitly supported each other, particularly at the United Nations amid intensifying conflict between the US and Russia over the war in Ukraine.
Russia has raised opposition to the US’ proposal to introduce a new UN Security Council resolution and reinforce economic sanctions on North Korea, even after North Korea’s test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea was one of the 24 countries that voted against suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council in April.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry has also released more frequent consecutive statements since last week, denouncing the US for providing military aid to Ukraine and waging a proxy war while endorsing Russia’s efforts to minimize the adverse impact of economic sanctions.
North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs last Wednesday also said that efforts by the US and the West to toughen sanctions on North Korea “will definitely go for nothing,” underscoring that the efforts of the Russian government to mitigate the adverse impacts of the sanctions will pay off.